July 22, 2021

Blog Thumbnail: Houston Injury & Accidents

How you report an accident at work depends on whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance.

Texas doesn’t require all employers to carry workers’ comp insurance – they are allowed to decide whether or not to participate in the Texas workers’ compensation system or carry any insurance at all. Therefore, if you have been injured in a work-related accident, the first thing you need to find out is whether your employer has workers’ comp insurance coverage. Employers are legally required to give this information to all employees, but if they do not, this information can be found in the Texas Department of Insurance online database.

How Do You Report an Accident at Work If Your Employer Has Workers’ Comp? What If Your Employer is a Non-Subscriber?

If your employer carries workers’ comp, you will have to follow the Texas workers’ comp system’s requirements for reporting an accident to get compensation for your injury. If your employer is a non-subscriber to the workers’ comp system and has private insurance or is self-insured, you can turn to that insurer for coverage.  In some situations, including when your employer does not have workers’ comp, you may be able to sue your employer or a third party through a personal injury lawsuit.

Regardless of whether your employer is or is not a subscriber, Texas laws are complicated, and making mistakes can cost you valuable benefits. One of the first steps to take after an accident at work is to get legal advice. The workers’ compensation and work injury lawyers at Waldman Legal Group offer a free consultation to examine the individual circumstances of your accident and the best way to proceed.

Call us today at (713) 688-4878 for your free and confidential case evaluation.

Immediately report your work injury to your employer

Regardless of whether your employer carries the “official” Texas workers’ comp insurance, you should report your workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible after the accident takes place. Once you realize you have been injured, stop what you are doing and report it to your supervisor. If your employer has provided you with specific instructions on reporting workplace injuries, follow those instructions. Later, check in with your employer to make sure that an accident report gets created. As needed, supplement your in-person reporting with an email to your supervisor and/or HR department so that you have documented the incident in writing. Include basic details about what happened, where, and when, and that you were injured as a result.

Additionally, you should document as much evidence as possible without further injuring yourself.

  • Take photographs of the area where you were injured. (Be sure to look for visible cameras in the area that may have captured the event.)
  • Take photographs of any conditions or equipment that caused your accident.
  • Create a list of individuals that may have witnessed your accident, along with their contact information.
  • Take photographs of your visible injuries without further injuring yourself.
  • Document the date, time, and location of your accident.

Most importantly, make sure you seek immediate medical care. If cannot move due to your injury, call for help! If your injury is life-threatening and no one is coming to your aid, call 911. After you’ve been seen by a medical professional, immediately call our attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group to see how we can help you. Our conversation is confidential.

How Long Do I Have to Report an Accident at Work if my employer carries workers’ comp insurance?

If your employer participates in the workers’ compensation system, the Texas Department of Workers Compensation (DWC) has specific requirements for reporting you must follow. You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you were hurt or from the date you knew your injury or illness was related to your job. If you do not let your employer know about your injury within 30 days, you may not get benefits.

How long you have to report an accident at work applies not only to the 30 days to report to your employer. In addition, you must report your accident to the DWC within one (1) year of the date you were hurt to protect your rights to workers’ comp. You can do this by filling out DWC Form-041, Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease.

Texas also has time requirements for employers to report accidents at work. After you report your accident, employers must file the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness DWC Form-001 with your insurance carrier and with you or your representative within 8 days after you are absent from work or from the time the employer receives notice of your accident or occupational disease.

How to Report an On-the-Job Accident

If you have been injured at work, you must report your on-the-job accident to your employer and file a claim with the DWC. The DWC will send you a packet with these documents. Read them all and submit what you are required to as part of the reporting process. This set of forms and information will guide you through the process of how to report an injury from an accident at work.

Be Sure to Take These Steps to Report Your Accident at Work

The injured employee checklist has information you must give to your doctor, your employer, and the insurance carrier. You must give your doctor all required information, including how you were injured at work. You must go to all your medical appointments and tell your doctor what tasks and activities you can and can’t do. You must follow your doctor’s instructions. You must also follow your employer’s rules about work-related injuries and discuss with your employer whether there is some work you can do during your recovery.

You have the right to choose a treating doctor. If you are covered under workers’ comp, the doctor must be chosen from their treating doctor list, and you may change doctors once without approval. If you are not in a workers’ comp network, you may choose any doctor, but changing your doctor must be approved by the DWC.

How an Attorney Can Help You Report Your Work Accident Correctly

You also have the right to hire an attorney to help you with your claim. At Waldman Legal, we will help you fill out all forms to make sure everything is done correctly. Our work-injury attorneys can help you get benefits. We will…

  • Make sure you know what to say and do after you are injured
  • Ensure that all forms and procedures are filled out and filed correctly in accordance with Texas law
  • Investigate your case to determine how it happened
  • Interview witnesses and gather evidence to help prove your claim
  • Obtain all relevant work and medical records
  • Make sure you document everything, keep a record of the details of your injuries and associated costs, and all paperwork
  • Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement
  • Make any necessary appeals if your claim is denied.

We will also determine whether you can go beyond the workers’ compensation system and file a lawsuit that will provide you with additional benefits, including compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering from your injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit After a Work Injury

If your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, or if a third-party non-employer’s negligence or fault led to your job-site accident (such as an outside contractor running you over with a vehicle), our attorneys may be able to get compensation for you through a lawsuit.

While workers’ compensation may cover your medical expenses and lost income, a successful Texas personal injury lawsuit can bring additional benefits that may include:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish, and
  • Punitive damages, for situations where a defendant acted with extreme recklessness.

Get Help After a Work-Related Accident

Workers’ compensation law and procedures and personal injury lawsuits can be complex, and there are Texas time limits that apply, so it makes sense to consult an attorney as soon as possible after a work-related injury. At Waldman Legal, we will start by making sure you report the accident properly and then follow through to fight for optimum benefits every step of the way, including taking your case to court if necessary.

Call the Waldman Legal Group today at 713-688-4878 for your free workplace injury consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless you have a successful recovery.

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